This morning when Barry & Franklyn left for “work” (getting morning diet coke’s from McDonald’s) … he texted me a quick photo of a brilliant pre-sunrise … I begged him to come back and pick me up … which he did. I jumped quickly into the car with my bare feet, bed head hair, jammies and camera …
It was so refreshing … so “right” to be chasing a sunrise. It was a game for Barry to find the best spot, with the best view before the sunrise quickly faded away into sunlight.
In the midst of all the movement … I was able to sit in a form of stillness … and ponder. My ponders came quickly in “real time” … fitting in many with just the blink of an eye … yet I find it amazing to receive them in what felt like “slow motion”. I am thinking this is “God speed”.
Finding uninterrupted “stillness” can be hard. Even as Barry found a spot where the sunrise was beautiful … I could see tiny twinkling head lights of cars far in the distance. They made brakes in my stillness. He generously continued on and found a spot that was not as beautiful … but stillness was found.
In those moment I realized God is not slow … but, I certainly am. God is not in a hurry … but, I certainly am … and … stillness trumps beauty …
It was in those moments I found true stillness, God Speed time that I allowed myself to be exactly who God created me to be … a human who is not fixated on who I am or what I want … but who the Lord is and what He wants … a powerful moment … and I was changed … at least for those moment … but, in those moments I certainly sat in the fullness of the Glory of God.
My bible study has taken me to Genesis 19 … Scripture turns from Abraham toward his brother, Lot, who has chosen to reside in Sodom. A study on Lot’s life weaved me to realize the “steady progression of compromise” in his life.
Lot went from looking toward Sodom (in Genesis 13), to pitching his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12), to living in Sodom (Genesis 14), to losing everything when Sodom was attacked (Genesis 14), to standing at the gate of Sodom … indicating he was now a leader in town (Genesis 19).
What struck me wasn’t that he ended up in such a compromised situation … but, how he gradually declined to it. It seems it all started with his gazing “toward Sodom”.
It immediately struck me how compromise in my own life generally doesn’t happen swiftly … but as a gradual decline. I prayed … “Lord, what am I “looking toward” … what am I gazing at that can be … or is … the catalyst to spiritual compromise in my life?”
I will be honest … what 1st came to mind was the gazing I had overcome. Let’s start with the positive right? I no longer gaze toward houses I longingly wish I could inhabit … or more importantly … back towards a house I wish I still inhabited. The day I stopped looking back at our Brentwood home … was the day the developing compromise of covetousness was squelched and the blessing of obedience truly took hold.
Next up …. I realized how I longingly desire for a trim/thin body however, I also longingly gaze at cookies, bread, extra portions at meal time … and of course, potato chips. This realization taught me the danger of gazing “towards” such pleasures … but a step deeper is when I start partaking … by figuratively pitching my tent in the pantry. Hmmmmmm.
At first I didn’t realize I was going deeper within my soul when I thought of my longing for a truck. Simple right? I have always been a truck girl. I only owned trucks until my back injury in 2000. I still long for one. But, as I laughed at the seemingly unimportance of it all … I felt a tug that there was something deeper for me to realize.
If I were a vehicle … I would be an off road truck! Rugged … able to roll over any obstacle that stood in my way … complete with a strong horn of warning, yet soft and cozy on the inside … always playing music in the background.
The thing is … … trucks are meant to transport stuff … not gather it. I have gathered stuff along the way that was meant to be transported to the dump … but I jammed it out of sight into baggage … never meant to be carried … taking up space and adding weight as I travel along the way. Stuff like anger, resentment, fear, frustration and most heavy … regret.
I ask myself … where does the compromise of transport vs. gather begin? For me … it begins as I gaze forward at issues that belong to others or is simply trash on the side of the road. It travels deeper as I co-dependently pick up & carry “baggage” I was never meant to carry … it eventually becomes a part of me as I pitch a tent for it to rest in the back of my truck … and I stand at it’s gate professing there is no more space for God’s intended purposes … I am full and overwhelmed.
However, comma … this is not the end. God rescues the righteous. He teaches us. He provides for us … He warns us to not “look back” at what he has destroyed … but forward to the wondrous work He is creating.
Am I gazing … each moment … in the right direction? I shall ponder … … …
Our furniture finally arrived yesterday … what was 1st targeted as 3 weeks … turned into 3 months + 3 weeks. I am normally a patient person, but I learned when I am not … I am NOT!!!!
Anyway … …, before I digress to far, this isn’t my pondering of long awaited furniture. It is my pondering of the little things.
The new family room furniture allowed my prayer chair to be delivered back to its spot in our bedroom. Ahhhhhhh … I could hardly wait to rest myself within its boundaries!
This morning, while waiting for my coffee to brew … I high-tailed it back to the bedroom and placed the electric blanket over my prayer chair. The long awaited crisp, fall weather allowed me to turn that baby to “almost” high. As I returned to retrieve my freshly brewed coffee, I was anxious to maneuver off the “adult proof” power sealed, tiny piece of aluminum that kept me from the 1st taste of my long awaited favorite holiday creamer.
My prayer chair … darkness … silence … crisp fall weather … coffee with my favorite holiday creamer … time with the Lord … I was giddy with delight.
I took time to thank the Lord for each of those things. For Himself … a human being without sin who died on the cross for me. For a prayer chair that looks simply like a chair to everyone else but to me beholds history of my prayers, studies, pondering’s, and meetings with the Lord. For darkness & crisp fall weather that rotates without fail. For silence that is desperately hard to find. For the feeling of anticipation and joy as I take the first sip of morning coffee.
The little things … the things easily taken for granted …
I must ponder … God’s perspective …. How much do the “little things” in my life bring joy to the Lord? The little things allowing God to take delight in me … turning a smirk into a smile … choosing to cover an attitude with love or choosing peace over anxiety … having an attitude of patience when things don’t go “my” way (even when furniture target delivery dates are continuously pushed out and the sales associate at the store is rude …) or patience while my husband “fills his tank” with conversation from peeps he meets “along the way” while I am desperately trying to fill mine with silence … creating “history” that glorifies Him in my prayer chair and in my daily walk with him???
My Bible Study took me to Genesis 8 this morning. I took the time to do the math and realized Noah and the fam were on that ark much longer than I realized. I knew it was longer than 40 days and 40 nights … but, I didn’t realize it was actually an entire year (+ 5 days).
I am thinking we can all relate with Noah to some degree during this pandemic. It seems like families are shut in to their own ark … floating about waiting for the COVID flood to end. Some of us “unmask” the doors to our ark upon 1st realization that the rain has stopped … others wait a little more patiently for a sign the waters are receding … and still others are waiting for the COVID waters to completely recede allowing dry “safe” land to be proven.
God told Noah there was going to be a 40 day flood … He did not tell Noah he was going to be quarantined inside the arc for just over a year. As the 30 day increments pressed on and on … Noah displayed his patience. I suppose it helped not having a smartphone with App’s professing up coming weather conditions or a news channel/website “spinning” information in the direction he saw fit.
God has ushered some to the other side of heaven during this COVID flood. He will usher most to the other side of the pandemic. When we arrive there … it is not the one with the most toilet paper or Clorox wipes that proves himself “wisest” or “righteous” … but, the one who takes the time to build an altar to the Lord. The one who acknowledges God’s sovereignty. The one who choose to be obedient to God’s unique plan for their lives. The one who builds a holy place on which to worship the Lord.
On the other side of the pandemic … I hope I am not most concerned with who did it “right” or “wrong” … but, how God “grew me” through it. I hope I live knowing my days are numbered … that life is short and eternity is long. I hope I release some of the trivialities of my life to make way for those things I learned are most important … relationships, ministry, Holy Spirit guided opportunities and my walk with God.
I just began a bible study in Genesis. After completing the first week of study, the ponder that kept coming to mind was “God’s Glory”. I challenged myself to contrive my best attempt at a definition. After a bit of pondering and study this is what I “imperfectly” came up with …
God’s glory is the fullness of all He is. The sum of which includes his omniscient wisdom, omnipotent power and all encompassing omnipresence … the culmination of which sets him apart from all man … and is his holiness.
My weeks study in Genesis 1, took me to a ponder on the aspect of God’s glory through creation. My ponder turned into a daydream of the mountains with their many grey, blue and white hues … uncountable shades of green and brown … a nearby valley with wildflowers flickering in the wind on a warm, yet breezy spring day and of course, the ever present babbling brook … “Creation Perfectus”.
However, comma, God’s glory in creation is not done well by way of a daydream. I must go further. Our recent fire evacuation and weather driven road trip taught me the importance of trying to view the larger picture … more than what I see before me on my personal canvas.
God’s glory is revealed in the beautiful … and also the powerful … thunder, lightening, fire … and unexpected blizzards when traveling through Wyoming in early September as well.
God’s glory is beyond my perception of “Creation Perfectus” … and includes God’s display of supremacy over all the earth … requiring me to reconsider my perception of perfection.
God’s glory is not just in the grandeur of his power … but also his unadorned, peaceful presence. That presence I embrace … and sometimes reject when I cry out to him in my suffering.
The Bible tells me God’s glory is also revealed in me. As “Creation In-perfectus” as I may be … I am still His image bearer. Sometimes I make brush strokes on my “life-canvas” God does not desire … those strokes I know are not intended for my canvas … but I determine to add them anyway. However, there are also those strokes that He did intend … a variety of strokes that depict love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control … … … and also there are also stronger, darker strokes such as suffering, repentance, and redemption.
What strokes am I going to apply to my canvas today? I shall ponder … … …
Plans … they were our “best laid” plans … but, were destined to keep changing.
#1. We originally had a solid “road trip” itinerary in place for the Labor Day Weekend … RV park reservations were made for the entire trip… heading to SoCal for the re-scheduled wedding of one of Elise’s bridesmaids. It was a wedding originally scheduled for May, that had been cancelled due to COVID. Sadly, we received an email stating the wedding would need to be cancelled again. Just hours later, we received a wedding invitation from my friend in Iowa … for the same week end. Soooo …
#2. Barry quickly rerouted and rescheduled our reservations from our SoCal Wedding trip to a larger circle towards Iowa heading east on I80 and ending in the south through Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. Several weeks before the start of that trip … we were evacuated from our home in Vacaville, CA due to the LNU Lightning Fires. We decided to head out on our road trip 2 weeks early … highway 80 was both closed and at a standstill. Soooo …
#3 Barry quickly rerouted and rescheduled our reservations from our Wedding Road Trip plans to head South where traffic and air quality were markedly better. We spent a week-ish in central SoCal “gathering ourselves after the evacuation” and decided to take a route allowing us to share the beauty of Utah’s Arches & Zion Ntl Park with my mom. After spending the week-ish in 100+ weather (that our little RV air conditioner couldn’t keep up with) … we decided to reroute to a path that didn’t take us through 110+ weather). Soooo …
#4. Barry quickly rerouted and rescheduled our reservations to a route heading away from the scorching weather … our rescheduled plans included a quick stop to visit my prayer partner who had just moved to AZ … and then headed up to Flagstaff for a few extra days … where the higher elevation brought beautiful weather and a visit with one of my “Quilting Cousins”.
We continued for a streak without any re-routing … taking us to Pawhuska OK where the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile is. The lightening and thunder storms were SEVERE! But, we managed to weather the storm to return to the Mercantile for truly one of the best lunches ever. (Highly recommend the Ranchers Sandwich and the Grilled Cheese Sticks with tomato soup!!!!). We made our way up to Waukee, Iowa to attend a precious friend’s wedding. It was “socially distanced” and beautiful atop of a winery … with a 360 degree view of Iowa farmlands. Magnificent ….
As we left the next morning to head toward home … I stated I had the hankerin’ to “be” home … soooo …
#5. Barry quickly rerouted us and reschedule our reservations to head west with “uncharacteristically” long travel days. The long 10+ hour travel day took us to the center of the “uncharacteristic” summer snow storm in Wyoming. Upon pulling in to our spot at the RV park in Rawlins … we learned that our car battery was dead and the black tank was both frozen and clogged. Mom received rights to the RV toilet … but, Barry and I made treks in the severe wind and snow to the reception desk bathrooms.
After a sleepless night of howling winds and snow that constantly jarred the RV to and fro … we learned that I-80 was closed and realized we weren’t going anywhere. We also realized we were out of propane to heat the RV. We made Mom toasty warm under heaps of blankets that pretty much kept her from moving … and we started calling every propane dealer we could find online trying to secure a mobile delivery … with no luck. Barry and I made several treks back and forth to the reception area to both use the facilities and secure our spot for another night. We learned the obvious … absolute obvious … the RV park sold propane!
So we unhooked the frozen hitch to the “dead” car and mozied ourselves to the propane tank. I tried to convince our pups yellow snow was acceptable under the conditions … Harriet obliged … but, poor Franklyn just could not do anything but, shiver with his new white mustache in the snow.
The thing about unhitching your battery dead car from your RV is … … now you have to back the RV up to the hitch instead of pulling the car forward. I have become quite proficient at moving the car forward to the perfect spot to connect it to the hitch … but, guiding a motorhome backwards … toward me … in the icy snow … was quite un-nerving. I was successful with only 2 tries and some high blood pressure.
The next morning, the highway re-open. After having spent hours & hours on any given state’s DOT weather site … we considered ourselves internet diplomaed meteorologist’s and determined we should move west as far as we could … out of the eye of the storm while there was a break in it’s pattern. It was a slushy, icy, slow move toward the west. We saw 5 car’s and 3 semi’s in a ditch … all abandoned … along the highway … all accidents from the previous day. One semi was in the ditch that separated east and west bound … with no truck head attached … obviously towed away … and the back was bashed in with some of it’s cargo also laying in the ditch … abandoned. Reality set in as we drove slowly and carefully. Not much conversation was happening in the RV.
Barry had researched a “portable jump starter” for our car (something about consequences to the transmission if we don’t get the car running … I don’t know … if it doesn’t affect the cup holders … I have no idea) … and I tried to locate one along our path. The first store that claimed one in stock ..ended up being CLOSED! I located another one and made a call to verify this store both had it in stock and was open. SUCCESS. However, our first attempts to start our car (which required us to unhitch the car …. ) were unsuccessful. Forward we moved out of the storm toward the west. We almost always avoid Utah’s Salt Flats and head around the top of the flats toward Idaho and then back down into Nevada … but, … …
#6 Barry quickly rerouted and rescheduled our reservations taking us through the Salt Flats to Wendover, NV. It was another 10+ hour driving day … and we all decided pizza was a perfect plan for dinner. We picked up the pizza on our way to an RV park and relished in the smell of some warm, good, carbs + sauce + cheese. I was ready to down my first piece when Barry again mumbled something about the transmission and needing my help to“try” and start the car. I felt it was futile … but took my place in the driver’s seat, said a faithless prayer and at the appropriate time tried to start the car. The first attempts were … in fact … futile … but, about try #5 … SUCCESS!!!! Barry ran into the motorhome … grabbed our slices of pizza … and we took a good ride to charge up the car.
#7 We have no plan for our trek forward. No reservations to cancel or reschedule for the 5th or 6th time. Plans are good … plans must be open to change … plans sometimes are best not made. We are just moving forward … toward the west … to the Golden State … which is “literally” glowing gold from the wildfires … and is home.
OK … cantankerous Oklahoma lightning and thunderstorm … #2 … on steroids … hit us last night. Barry and I were out chasing down the sunset when the weather drastically and quickly took a turn towards darkness. Again … not a fan!!!!!
I was hanging out the window, shot gun, taking a photo of the Drummond mailboxes across from the entrance to their ranch. The wind, the rain, the thunder, the lightening … but, ohhh, what a great photo op … that rusted yellowy/orange mail box against the coming storm … much more beautiful in person.
We headed back to “our” RV ranch where my mom was “trying” to relax with the pups. Immediately above us was a HUGE lightening strike with an immediate bomb of thunder … pretty sure I pee’d my panties a little. Just ahead on the road was a small fire where the lightening had hit. Luckily, it was a wet … instead of dry … lightening storm. I was the only one that seemed concerned. The small fire was casually circled by “locals” who seemed to enjoy the sociality of the moment.
By the time we got back to our ranch … the monsoon of rain tempted me to sleep in the car … until more thunder and lightening struck. I left my camera in the car and ran with a broken umbrella to the RV which got quite tangled in my hair … but, the run to safety was successful.
Snuggled into our bed, with Harriet our nervous dog, shaking in my lap … I asked the Lord … “What is it that you want my constant attention for?” … “What am I missing?” … The response did not come immediately … but the assuredness of His desire for me … his non-verbal words for me were real … and personal.
I will ponder his desire for me and his non-verbal words ….
Another thunder & lightening storm is on the way …..
There was a cantankerous Oklahoma thunder & lightning storm above us early this morning. Still not a fan. I have pondered how God shows his strength & power through such storms. That power is unsurmountable. But, in my continued pondering’s … I also wonder if he is trying to grab my attention. This morning’s thunderstorms certainly captured the attention of the 3 humans & 2 pups in our motorhome.
The thing is … … He captured our attention without words. We are all standing at attention, but are unable to interpret what it is He may be saying. If we all went to the Bible … we would all likely receive something different from God … a different passage … a different application to our life … and that’s OK because sometimes God speaks personally, and sometimes he speaks corporately.
I am wondering if sometimes God just needs to capture my attention; to remind me he is out there. The question is will I pay attention? Once the cantankerous moment is gone, who or what do I continue to paying attention to?
God can powerfully grab my attention … but, it becomes my choice what I do next. Will I awaken and head to scripture/prayer … or will I head to social media wondering what others are saying about the storm? What “voices” will I search out to have shaping power for my beliefs?
I believe God uses the voices of His people to have shaping power in my life. But, when God makes the attempt to grab or fix my attention on Him through a lightening storm, a song, a circumstance … I need to be careful I am paying extended attention on Him.
In Mark 4:24 Jesus told his disciples the importance of paying close attention to “what they hear” … that the attitude in which they receives the word of Jesus profoundly affects how much more they … we … will hear from Him.
Am I paying attention? Who & what am I paying attention to? Is it the Gospel and the other words of Scripture, or is it my “emotions of the moment” … an emotional high that causes me to maybe do, say, experience, spend more than I should or emotional low plagued by self-doubt and pity that causes me to do nothing at all?
Hmmmm … I shall ponder …. And pay attention … patiently …
a current of cool air in a room or other confined space
beer or other drink that is kept in and served from a barrel or tank rather than from a bottle or can.
Today is draft day for my Fantasy Football League. I have researched. I have prepped. I have re-enacted the information found in my “little black book” I left at home in the haste of packing. I have revisited my “Learning Fantasy Football” blog (available on the header menu above) … because I still feel “stupid” to the game. I have practiced using the “mock draft” system on the ESPN APP (ended up with a fine team per my son-in-law). Most importantly, I will find a draft … a brewski … to “pop” when the process is through and I have my team … “Sandi’s Tight-Ends”!
I have said it tooo many times … I am an academic … the academics don’t necessarily come to me easily … but, I must keep working to understand … and once I understand … I keep working to achieve knowledge that is beyond what I need to know. When it comes to Fantasy Football … and especially Football in general … this academia clearly is going to be a life long process. Though I am becoming more familiar with Fantasy Football … the game itself still completely eludes me!
In my research … I learned about a thing called “tanking”. Tanking is when a team gives up a game, losing intentionally to acquire a better position in the draft. Who knew?
I “tanked” in FF unintentionally last year. Came in absolutely last and earned the “tank award”. However, it turns out I don’t get better positioning in today’s draft. WHAT?????? Should have been more intentional about coming in last place!
Sometimes the “sanctification process” feels like tanking. There have been seasons in my spiritual walk filled with spiritual victory … and seasons of repeated defeat. I’ll be honest … I have boldly, bravely, asked my league manager, Christ, … “What the heck? What are you thinking?”. To my recollection I haven’t asked that question in times of victory … interesting.
At times … I wonder if God is tanking me. Allowing me repeated defeat for an “ulterior motive”. At those times … I head to the locker room … for some deep inner conversation. In that locker room … I am reminded sanctification is a team sport … we are to trust the process together …and as God’s people we are “to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25)
The truth is … God does allow defeat for a purpose. A sanctifying purpose. A holy purpose. But, I must always remember our victory is in heaven … not in the things of this earth. Everyone who walks with the Lord experiences the same kind of process. Sometimes it’s victory … sometimes it’s defeat … sometimes it is the feeling of being tanked … but, always … it’s growing in the holiness of God … a process I can trust … we can trust … because … “the God of peace [will] himself sanctify [me] completely” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
Barry and I had a short conversation about the craziness of 2020 … the COVID pandemic, the lightening & fires, and the catastrophically large hurricanes. Barry made a comment: “The world needs to wake up and pay attention”. That comment led me to a ponder …. Is it the world that needs to pay attention … or Believers of Christ? Is God sending “plagues” to grab our attention? Is this a sign of the End Times? This required me to search scripture …
The “Theology of Sandi” is coming to realize that the “10 plagues” found in the book of Ezekiel are not so much about judgment as a call for repentance and God willing his power, supremacy & “Creator rights” over Israel, Egypt and all the earth.
Scripture reveals to us God governs:
the hearts of kings,
and on and on.
God’s ultimate goal is to uphold and display his glory. Scripture tells us it also happens to be for the enjoyment of His redeemed people.
The End Times
“The End Times” have come up in several conversation I have had with people as well. Is this craziness a sign of the end times? …possibly … but, does that mean the end is near in time as “we know it”? Scripture tells us we will not know the time … but, it does record signs and wonders we will see.
The end times will be preceded by:
great earthquakes and tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will,
plagues and famines in various places,
terrors and great signs from heaven,
the sun darkening, the moon not giving its light, the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of the heavens being shaken,
days like those of Noah,
wonders in the sky & on earth and of blood, fire, vapor and smoke,
the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood,
wars and rumors of wars,
nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,
many falling away, betraying and hating one another,
False prophets will come in Christ’s name, showing great signs and wonders, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many, even the elect, if possible,
God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh,
the Gospel being preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations,
Prophesies, visions, and dreams.
God’s ultimate plan upon his return is that … “it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Cauliflower – a variety of cabbage (Brassica oleraceavar. botrytis) having a dense white mass of fleshy flower stalks that form the head.
I mentioned in my last post … my decision making process during our evacuation was quite “surreal”. While videoing those things that meant a lot to me, I went to this place … that was the most unemotional, rational place I had ever worked from. That place where speed was an option.
For some reason … that place left me when we got to the refrigerator. It makes no sense. We had just purchased a Costco membership with Brad & Elise and had our fridge crispers full of large bags holding vegetables of different types.
I was able to decide not to evacuate my sewing machines that are worth thousands of dollars … but, could not decide which veggies to cram into our much smaller RV fridge. I started loosing it when I saw Barry had decided to throw away the cauliflower ….. it’s funny now …. I think ….
In retrospect, The cauliflower decision wasn’t really about keeping vs. wasting cauliflower, but was really about coming to a somewhat subconscious resolve that the cauliflower presented an opportunity to release some of my pent up anxiety through unloving and unnecessary words spewed at my husband.
Decisions can be both easy & difficult … simple& complex … necessary & unnecessary. Deciding the fate of the cauliflower was clearly easy & difficult. Deciding where we were going to evacuate to … was both simple & complex with COVID, fires and heat all around us. Deciding to release pent up anxiety was necessary … deciding to release it on my husband was not.
The thing is … as a Christ follower … if I ask God to guide me … He will. His 1st step of guidance is through scripture. If I get “off track” He will correct and guide me back onto His path … it is called repentance and forgiveness.
After a good ponder … the “Theology of Sandi” has concluded that the Lord is not as concerned with my right or wrong decisions as he is if I am making them lovingly or not.
Evacuation – the clearance of personnel, animals, or materiel from a given locality.
It was a telephone call that pulled me out of a peaceful prayer time. My daughter was calling to warn us that the evacuation line for the Napa/Sonoma fire (also called LNU fire) was literally a mile from our home. I peered out the sliding glass door and saw a thick blanket of smoke overhead. I opened the door to take a photo of the bright red sun outside and the reality of heat vs smoke was startling.
We knew the right thing to do … but, we prayed anyway. A peace, a calmness enveloped me that reminded me why I should pray even when I “do” know the right thing to do.
We were scheduled to leave in a week for a road trip to attend one of my “inner circle” friend’s wedding in Iowa … so we packed the RV as if we weren’t coming home until after the road trip. I’m not gonna lie … there were definite moments when the calmness left me …. I’m sure we’ll laugh about them later.
I always wondered about the decision making process of what to take along in such a situation. My process was to step back, pray and ponder …. Could I live without this stuff? I desperately wanted to throw my sewing machines and some of the art on our walls in the RV but knew it wasn’t realistic. So I grabbed my phone and began taking a video of our possessions room by room … a surreal moment.
Once exhausted and packed up in the RV, we headed out. We had not discussed with each other where “out” was going to be. Our daughter called to let us know they were evacuating also and heading south for cleaner air. She asked us where we were heading … “McDonald’s” we said.
After loading up on burgers, fries & drinks we headed toward highway 5. I can’t explain the oddity of driving “somewhere” without having a destination plan. The fire was coming from the northwest and heading east … so we eventually decided south seemed like a good plan.
While on southbound Highway 5, we received the “official orders” to evacuate. The fire had jumped the highway and was headed for the hills directly behind our house. Reality set in. We may not have a home to go back to. It’s that moment when I remember how many times I have claimed God as Sovereign. I take a pause … a ponder … and claim God, still, sovereign … but, it means more to me now.
We settled in Coalinga for our first night’s stop. We have not seen blue sky since we left and we all have non Covid headaches and sore throats. Life gets better when we eat the salad and fruit that had been smashed tightly into the fridge for dinner.
Quickly, our hearts take a downturn when we plug into our hotspot and view some of the news broadcasts. Soon, the Holy Spirit peace begins to leave … pressure, tension, tightness … and acid reflux takes its place. We determine “news” can not change anything in our plight and shut down the hot spot. Barry plays computer games and I read. We soon fall into a peaceful sleep … Nighty night.
The lightening and thunder pulled me out of a peaceful prayer time this morning. The lightening was bright and the thunder came immediately. I was NOT all about it …. ….
I hesitantly peeked out our bedroom sliding glass door and saw that my potted tomato plant had fallen over. Fried Green Tomatoes???
According to the Urban Dictionary … the definition for Fried Green Tomatoes is: to take someone’s parking spot in a rude fashion. Who knew?
The “non” Urban Dictionary simply defines it as a side dish usually found in the Southern United States, made from unripe (green) tomatoes coated with cornmeal and fried.
A few moments later … a huge wind storm with rain turned the sky grey … blowing dust, branches and almost all the planks from our older side fence. Auntie Em, Uncle Henry … !!!!
I am brought to scripture …
“As the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day” (Luke 17:24 & Matthew 24:7)
“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”(Hebrews 9:28)
“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1Thessalonians 4:17)
There is, however, another part to this scriptural truth
“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matthew 24:21)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of Man . . . “ (Matthew 24:29)
I believe Jesus is coming back again one day … at a time no one knows … on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
I believe the Lord will snatch me and all my fellow Believers up to live with Him in holy eternity.
I believe their will be a time of tribulation & affliction and also a time for the accomplishment of God’s redemption.
I believe that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
I let frustration overtake me the other day. No big happenings … just a consistent bunching of little things that kept adding up …
I dropped my “Grandma Sandi” Yeti, filled with diet coke, twice (NOT the Grandma Sandi cup!). I mis-communicated with others more than twice. While watering the plants in the front yard, my legs became instantly covered with ants (I feel ants on my legs even now as I am typing). Dog sees cat on the other side of the screen … dog runs through screen to catch said cat … it is the dog that is hard to catch. The pieced square I was working on for a “cousin quilt” came out hideously “wavy” … a good pressing did not cure the problem … … … that was just the beginning of my morning …
Frustration or Self-Pity? Let me ponder …
Frustration comes when I stumble into the proverbial mud pit. Self-Pity is when I decide to swim around in the mud pit for more drama and sympathy instead of working my way out.
I am happy to report, in this instance, I did not wallow around in the mud pit of self-pity. But, it did take some real “work” to get myself out. I prayed … asked God to guide me out … assumed (I called it “had faith”) he would snatch me right out of that pit. However, comma, God rarely takes me directly from A to B. It is usually more like A to Z.
It seems … God’s purpose for me is not speed … but, sanctification. Hmmmm.
Paul speaks of plans he had in his letters to various churches. He told the Philippian Church that he was going to travel from Jerusalem to Spain. However, while passing through Rome he found himself prison. Now THAT is a mud pit. Paul never lost faith … never lost his focus on the Lord.
The thing is … am I focusing on God … or the mud?
Sometimes God’s purpose for us is to do work in that mud pit. Sometimes it changes us. Sometimes it changes the world.
Suggestion – an idea, plan, or action that is offered for acceptance or rejection
We’ve had a lot of “projects” making this house our home. When I am project manager … Barry has this recurrent phrase he uses; “Can I make a suggestion?”
When I am in my “I am determined to make this work the way I first envisioned” mode … the answer is likely “no”. The suggestion comes anyway. The suggestion is “rejected” … the suggestion is repeated because it wasn’t really offered with the option of rejection ……. A stall happens …
When I am taking a more open-minded approach to my role as project manager … things go quite differently … more smoothly. The suggestions still come… still may or may not be accepted … but, I have learned that compromise is a great tool for moving forward.
Compromise – the settlement of a dispute by concessions on both or all sides.
The Bible councils that compromise is needed when dealing with the complexities and ambiguities of [sinful] man … but not acceptable when dealing with a holy and omnipotent God.
Oddly, it took me a while to figure this out. I mean … if I can compromise on a suggestion of how art is displayed in our home … shouldn’t I be allowed to expect God to compromise with me about how my “attitude” is displayed to said “Suggestor”? Yeah ….. no ….
The Theology of Sandi believes that compromise with man is a medication to help heal … however, compromise with God is a drug used dangerously and without prescription.
My attitude is the area I am most likely to try a justification or compromise process with God. It usually starts with the words “I deserve”.
Then I remember Christ … who came to stand in my place mercifully for what I truly deserve. If I allow myself to stall for a ponder … I am able to let go of my self-justification.
LIZARD – a reptile with movable eyelids, ears that are outside the body, and has two to four legs.
Shivers are running down my spine just writing the definition. I am not a reptile person.
My daughter and son in law had a 2-legged slithering lizard in their apartment. I wasn’t there … but, caught the excitement in real-time postings (and gladly from afar) on the Marco Polo app.
I “Binged” how to both find and catch a lizard … … … I helped (gladly from afar).
I used to watch our dog Franklyn unsuccessfully try to catch the lizards in our Rio Vista house. It was entertaining … (gladly from afar).
Reptiles have always creeped me out … but, I justified my disgust after reading a book by C.S. Lewis titled The Great Divorce. In the book, a Ghost who has been kept out of heaven tries to keep his pet sin, a red lizard. The Ghost is constantly found rebuking the lizard that lives on his shoulder. An angel arrives and asks him if he would like for the lizard silenced. The Ghost is anxious for the lizard to be silenced until he realizes the means of silencing is death, then he begins to negotiate a better way to silence the lizard … in a more gradual way. The lizard whispers his own negotiations into the Ghost’s ear … promises the Ghost knows can’t be kept … but, are far more comforting …
The thing is … sin is best slayed … not trained. I’ve tried it …. Am still trying it …
My “Binged” research told me that lizards like to hide in the dark … a flash of light most often will cause them to move … creating opportunity to remove its presence.
I like my sin to be hidden in the dark. Not just so others can’t see it … but, so I can deny it’s there. When that flash of “light” comes … it is my opportunity to remove its presence …
“FENCE”: a barrier or other upright structure enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape.
We live on a corner lot and are extending our back side yard by moving our fence out towards the sidewalk. Our motorhome is set to rest there.
Having lived under the protection of gated communities the last 15 years … I am thankful for the tight “hedge of protection” our fence & cement guy is providing for our new home.
This took me to a ponder … the “hedge of protection” … I am pretty sure it comes from the book of Job … it makes sense … the poor guy certainly needed a hedge of protection! But, what I was unsure of was the situation surrounding the hedge. Did God build the hedge or did he call Job to build the hedge? Does scripture specifically call out the hedge for protection against the evil one? Why does Job’s hedge seem rather faulty? It wasn’t long before I realized I used this term frequently, prayerfully, and it seems … rather (scripturally) loosely. Hmmmm….
It turns out “hedge of protection” does not appear in scripture in those exact words … or even in the context with which I was using it. In Job 1:10 & 11, Satan claims that if God removes the “hedge”, the blessings of prosperity He has provided, Job will curse Him.
God does remove the hedge. Job does loose almost everything that prospered him. Job does NOT curse God. In fact, Scripture tells us that he fell to the ground … worshipped and said: “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
The thing is … this context is not about the “hedge” … but, the response to the hedge. It is about worshipping the Lord wether He gives or takes away.
There are many scriptures that speak of God’s protection over His people. I picture spiritual airbags for when I crash and spiritual motion detectors, alarms & pepper spray that defuses danger when it is near.
The truth is … I need protection because I am vulnerable … because I live in a “fallen” world. In some instances, the spiritual air bags may not deploy … the pepper spray may not diffuse danger. My only absolute, ultimate protection & security … is faith in Christ.
In Psalm 91, God does not promise that the worst this world has to offer won’t come upon us, but when it does, we are not alone, abandoned, or destroyed.
The Theology of Sandi now believes my protection is not in a “hedge” … but is my faith in the sovereignty of our Father.
I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi #SandiPonders #Fence